1. You avoid talking about your childhood.
You hate looking through your old photo albums, because the memories aren’t as happy as the pictures suggest. That time you were smiling at the camera in front of Cinderella’s Castle was right before a huge fight that you don’t even want to think about. And, yeah, there are photos where you actually were happy too, and those are even worse to look through, because they remind you that your family will never be the same again.
2. You get scared when things start to get serious.
Once upon a time, your parents were happy. And that’s the most sickening part. Even if you meet someone that changes your life, someone that you can call your soulmate, who says that your love is going to last forever? Your parents are proof that things can deteriorate — and you never want to stick around for long enough to watch that happen.
3. You no longer count down the days until your birthday.
You used to be excited about holidays, but now you dread them. It means that you’re going to have to split your time between your mother and father — either that or you’re forced to ask them to sit in the same room and soak in the awkwardness. It’s much more stressful than fun.
4. You’re overly protective of one of your parents.
You didn’t want to pick a side, but it happened anyway. Maybe everyone knows which parent you’re closest to — or maybe you kept your preference a secret. But either way, there’s one parent that you feel bad for and one that you’re pissed off at, and it’s going to take you a while to forgive them.
5. You cringe at the idea of marriage.
You aren’t the type to daydream about white dresses and red roses. Sure, the idea of marriage is nice in theory — but you don’t know if you actually want to go through the trouble of walking down the aisle. You’ve seen how messy divorces can get. You’d rather have an escape plan.
6. You censor yourself when you talk about your family.
You don’t want to say anything negative about your mom when you’re at a party with your dad’s family. And you don’t want to accidentally tell your mom something that your dad probably wanted to keep a secret. You’re forced to tread carefully and it sucks.
7. You’re skeptical of every ‘happy’ couple you see.
Your friend’s boyfriend is always away on business? Probably cheating. Your cousin got married to her high school sweetheart? You give her three years before the divorce. Even if a couple genuinly looks like they’re madly in love, you feel bad for them, because you know it’s only a matter of time until that passion fades away.
8. You have a modern definition of family.
There are some asshole relatives that you don’t want anything to do with, because they showed their true colors during the divorce. And there are some friends, who don’t share your blood at all, but feel like family. They’re the ones you care about the most. The ones you want to spend the holidays alongside.
9. You keep a lot of emotions bottled up inside.
You’re angry, but you don’t want to make your parents feel even worse by yelling at them over something that had to happen. You’re depressed, but it’s been a while since the split, so everyone expects that you’re over it by now. Their divorce really fucked you up, but you don’t want to make the situation all about you, so you act out by drinking and dating a little too much — anything that doesn’t involve talking through your feelings.
10. You try hard to take care of yourself.
Your parents’ divorce taught you an important life lesson — that you should never rely on someone else to pay your bills or to fill your happiness. Because of them, you’re self-sufficient. Because of them, you aren’t afraid to leave unhealthy relationships behind. You won’t let anyone treat you like crap, because you know that walking away is always an option.